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Doctors, Dentists and Other Health Services

Thailand - Doctors, Dentists and Other Health Services

GP clinics are not commonly used in Thailand. Most hospitals have GPs and many people will simply go to the nearest hospital if they need a doctor. It is generally considered that the standard of care offered by Thai GPs is excellent, with doctors spending more time with their patients than in many other countries. There is a strong emphasis on preventing illness rather than just treating symptoms and Thai GPs are very open to the use of natural remedies.

Appointments with a doctor are generally paid for through the social security system. Those who pay in are given a card to present and this indicates that they are entitled to free treatment. Those with private medical insurance may have to pay a bill and claim the money back although in some instances the clinic can deal directly with the insurance company. Others need to pay for the appointment at the time, although the cost of a consultation with a GP in Thailand is fairly low when compared to some other countries. The average cost of a GP consultation is around 200 THB and even with medication the bill will rarely come to more than 500 THB.

It should be noted that in some of the hospitals in the cities which deal with wealthy expats it has become common practice for doctors to recommend overnight stays. This is mainly to add extra to the bill. It is also the case that some hospitals have been given incentives to prescribe drugs from certain companies, which are often more expensive and not always needed. If in doubt then see a second doctor at a different clinic. It is certainly not a common practice in all hospitals and it is advised that in order to avoid this type of situation then a visit to a public Thai hospital is the best option.

Some areas have what is known as a ‘polyclinic’ which is a walk-in centre for GP services. These are generally open from 8 am to 9 pm each day. There are a number of services that can be carried out in these clinics as they have their own laboratories, so blood test results and other results can usually be obtained fairly quickly. Tests which cannot be carried out at the clinic can be done at the nearest hospital and the doctor will refer you to the relevant department.

Dental services are readily available in Thailand and it has become one of the leading destinations for those who are medical tourists looking for dental treatment, due to rising costs in the west. Most dentists will speak English as many have trained in the west. There are both public and private dental clinics in Thailand. Some services are covered by the medical programme but many are not and will need private healthcare insurance to cover or will need to be paid for.

There is no requirement to register with a doctor’s clinic as you can simply turn up and be seen fairly quickly. There is also no requirement to register with a dentist’s surgery. Finding a doctor or dentist is fairly straightforward. A doctor is best found by recommendation while dentists are listed in the local yellow pages. Appointments are not required to see a doctor but people are seen in the order that they arrive, so if you leave it until fairly late in the day to go then you should be prepared to wait for a while. Appointments are required at a dentist’s clinic and if you have chosen a popular clinic then you may need to wait for a few days to be seen.

There are several charities and organizations in Thailand which offer counseling services for issues such as addiction and depression. There is not normally a fee to be helped by a charity, although those who choose to attend a private clinic will find that there is a charge for the service. The Samaritans has a Thai branch which operates around the clock and which has a helpline for those with English as a first language.

Useful Resources

National Health Security Office
Tel: 1330
Email: inter-affairs@nhso.go.th

Samaritans Thailand
Tel: + 66 2713 6791 (English volunteers on this line)

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